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We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let’s have a look at Toronto through the lens of Carlos Bolivar!
Every year in the late summer, excitement takes over Toronto. One of the most anticipated annual events, lovingly called “the Ex,” draws near. Every August, Exhibition Place turns into a large fair with many exciting rides for the 18 days leading up to Labour Day Monday. Canada’s largest annual community event attracts more than 1.4 million visitors each year. Bringing over $45 million to the city budget, this show is one of the highlights of tourism in Toronto. This year, the Ex celebrated its 125th anniversary and lived through the 2003 blackout caused by extensive floods, when the lights went off for some time. The CNE is currently the seventh largest fair in North America.
The event boasts a long tradition indeed. The very first Canadian National Exhibition was held in 1879 under the name “Toronto Industrial Exhibition.” Back then, it promoted mostly agriculture and technology from across Canada. People came to experience only the “best and the brightest” from the latest innovations in technology and commercial products. More than 134 years later, this is still a big part of the event, but a lot of fun rides, attractions, and vendors have also joined the picture. There’s a vibrant mix of pavilions, exhibits, shows, and concerts, plus a working farm, horse show, casino, and large carnival midway with rides, games, and food. Each year, organizers add more new attractions.
The newest attraction this year was the zip line ride that hanged high above visitors’ heads and was definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you were brave enough, you could have conquered the highest and longest temporary zip line in the world, starting at the height of 55 metres! Riders swooshed down the lines at the super-fast speed of 65 kilometres per hour.
Families and people of all ages came out to enjoy a day off, meet with friends, and let off steam on one of the stomach-twisting rides. The 192-acre site at Exhibition Place is located right at the harbourfront and offers nice views of the city from its location west of Toronto’s downtown core. The grand finale of the exhibition was the 64th annual three-day Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) with its stunts in the air above Lake Ontario on Labour Day. The spectacular show featured Canadian Forces Snowbirds, which turned the heads of every visitor with their daring acrobatics.
You might wonder what this much fun and large crowds leave behind when organizers pack up the attractions and take off. The CNE is thinking about its environmental impact too and has been awarded EcoLogo Certification, confirming the event as the “greenest” fair in North America and the most “environmentally friendly” large-scale event on the continent. So there’s nothing to deter you from visiting this spectacular event next year — especially if you’ve by any chance never been! Plus, with its convenient location, the site is easily accessible via public transit.
The 2013 show included these attractions:
CNE Sky Ride — Letting visitors take a look of the Ex from above — to be more precise, they sat 40 feet above ground at the highest point
Acrobatic Show — the colourful extravaganza with circue performers, trapeze and trampoline artists, and jugglers
The Flying Wallendas — One of the greatest acts in circus history
Food Building — Featuring the annual, mouth-watering Ribfest
Food Network Celebrity Stage — Sharing tips and recipes from your favourite chefs
Garden Show — Home to the largest flower and vegetable growing competition in Canada
Mardi Gras Parade — Covering guests with its Mardi Gras necklaces
President’s Choice SuperDogs Show — Delighting visitors with impressive tricks and costumes
The Canadian International Air Show — Labour Day weekend only
Trivia: The CNE skipped the years between 1942 and 1946, when the grounds served the Department of National Defence as a training ground.
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Meet the Photographer
Colombian photographer based in Toronto, started with analog Photography in 2003, then jumping to the digital wolrd in 2005. His photographic areas are mainly street, landscapes, portrait and beauty.